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Cold Case Story
BY STEPHANIE KANE
Cold Case Story is about a family fractured along the fault lines of a murder. It’s about kids made to choose sides and aunts who never forgot. It’s about fiction and reality colliding, how one shapes the other and how fiction has real consequences. It’s also a very personal story of what it’s like to ping-pong between participant and observer, novelist and catalyst and witness to your own uneasy set of facts.
The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
— William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
All are punish’d.
— Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Cold Case Story is based on the brutal murder of a housewife in the Denver suburbs in 1973. A college student back then, Stephanie Kane was more than a witness to this terrible crime. For nearly thirty years, she remained silent. Then, in 2001, she tried to exorcise it by fictionalizing it in a mystery novel called Quiet Time. But instead of laying the murder to rest, Quiet Time brought it roaring back to life.
Cold Case Story is about a family that fractured along the fault lines of a murder. It’s about fiction colliding with a cold hard crime, and the very personal story of how it feels to ping-pong between participant and observer, novelist and witness to one’s own uneasy set of facts. In the end, all are punished—even the guilty.
Chapter 2: Not From That Place
I don’t have the advantage of being from there, from that region, of that race. But my responsibility is to tell stories, to tell the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it. And if there are repercussions from that, I’ll just have to face it.
~Bill Cheng | author of Southern Cross the Dog
Locard’s Exchange Principle: The theory that anyone, or anything, entering a crime scene both takes something of the scene with them, and leaves something of themselves behind when they leave.
~Brent Turvey | Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis
I met Doug at a karate studio in Boulder.
I applied to CU because it was 2000 miles from Brooklyn. But the moment the plane landed, I was over my head. The dry wind, blazing sky and strapping kids playing frisbee on a campus backed by mountain peaks felt unreal, like a technicolor movie. I wandered into a karate studio and watched my future husband, Doug, throwing one perfect kick after another. With his crisp white gi and sun-streaked hair, he embodied everything foreign and exotic about Colorado. We moved in together that summer. And that fall he brought me home to meet his parents.
Home was a tract house in a suburb south of Denver. Doug’s father, Duane, was an engineer whose kids called him Mr. Work the Problem. His mother, Betty, was a stylish blonde straight out of Vogue or Better Homes and Gardens. Doug told her I was a vegetarian majoring in Italian, so she served melon and provolone. Duane was Field & Stream. Over dinner he railed against Texans snatching up prime mountain land and the East Coast cabal controlling the news media. I was too intimidated and intent on being liked to put up a fight. The following June, on the morning Betty was murdered, Duane would show up at the karate studio unannounced, with a bruise on his forehead and a warm six-pack of beer.
Doug’s family was foreign but enticingly normal—the way I fantasized a normal family would be. But it’s impossible to know any family’s truth. And being an outsider makes that truth even harder to see. In telling that story the way I wanted to tell it, Quiet Time initiated a cold case but barely scratched the truth.
Families are also like crime scenes. Entering one, you bring something with you. Leaving, you bear its mark. The very act changes the family’s story and makes you of that place. The story continues to be reshaped by…
Stephanie Kane is a lawyer and award-winning author of four crime novels. Born in Brooklyn, she came to Colorado as a freshman at CU. She owned and ran a karate studio in Boulder and is a second-degree black belt. After graduating from law school, she was a corporate partner at a top Denver law firm before becoming a criminal defense attorney. She has lectured on money laundering and white collar crime in Eastern Europe, and given workshops throughout the country on writing technique. She lives in Denver with her husband and two black cats.
Extreme Indifference and Seeds of Doubt won a Colorado Book Award for Mystery and two Colorado Authors League Awards for Genre Fiction. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and the Colorado Authors League.
Links to Stephanie’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!